The Athlete or At Morris Schinasi’s House, (2018)


It’s just a few blocks from where my dad grew up which is simultaneously a few blocks from where I live now. He was born in Summer, many days late and only after my grandmother had eaten oysters for dinner. I have always been attracted to white marble. Not in statues, necessarily, but in other types of objects. Slabs, stairs, ledges. For me, marble’s appearance does not need to be at a right angle for it to be attractive. In fact, the angles should be softer when in smaller, decorative styles. When the pieces are big, however, they should be sharp. The sharpness is violent but so is the material — in this it is double violence. Looking at the marble was like admiring someone’s physique because it reminded me of a beautiful shoulder.

I had a blister on my foot the color of white marble. It was from wearing tall, platform shoes that were fancy and made of hot pink faux crocodile. I bought them used but online. The shoes have thick soles and a platform with a medial meniscus shaped line through them that is hollow. They exist mostly for aesthetic value and not for practical use.

The marble can hold things, too. Once, this marble held a tobacco baron. Now the windows are covered with blue paper. There is a bench across the street.

I would love to live in a marble home where the walls are wide, and the ledges have sharp ninety degrees angles that enact a protective spell just by standing upright. I have never seen anything so ethereal become this way, harsh, protective. The blue paper that fills the windows is the color of the fresh blackthorn berries along the path to the water in the summer. The fruit is similar to a plum. It is too astringent for eating. Only my brother will eat them, and we will laugh at them because anyone else would spit it out. They eat lemons for fun, too.

Last night I had a dream that I kidnapped an athlete. We found ourselves in a white marble box with a view of the sky, it was blue like blackthorns and the paper on the windows. It is a blue that can be close to purple. I fell in love with him, but he escaped because he could never love me back.

The entire house is like the white marble box from my dream and I wonder what it would look like without a roof.

There is a caution sign that is black with red type because there is construction being performed. The black is out of place and I wonder whether it has a purpose. I forget that this is not my house, disorienting, the realness of desire.

When I think of my grandmother with a baby carriage, I can only envision it as two separate encounters. There is her on the street, this street, in front of this marble house. And then there is the baby carriage on the street, this street, in front of this same marble. I am sure she pushed a baby carriage on this portion of sidewalk, but it is the action that cannot exist. All I can see is her gargling salt water over the kitchen sink to ward off infection. This makes me sick. And it isn’t the sight that makes me sick but the sound. This is the sound that plays when I envision her with this marble.

White marble acts like an astringent for it shrinks things around itself. This is where it gets complicated. She becomes a small fixture of the structure and I remember that I like where it is sharp but not where it protrudes.

There are orbs on the columns that touch the front walkway. Circular and virile, opposing the sharp corners of the windows and doors.

In 1904, the Egyptian style cigarettes were rolled on the fourth floor of the factory using ten Ludington machines. Their boxes were colorful and not like marble at all - although in 1904 they were owned by the same person, the factory and that which it produced and the marble house.

It’s the kind of house you would look at and think, “he would be a hard man to keep secrets from.” Even when under construction, laid open in some places except for blue paper.

The pointed tips of the roof are green like some types of floating chlorophyta. There are about three of these points on the front and on the back. There is something so appealing about oxidization. Copper forms a green verdigris when it oxidizes. Redox reactions demand the transfer of electrons between chemical species. That from which the electron is stripped is indicated as the oxidized subject. The chemical species is reduced. As she is reduced from the baby carriage and attached as it were to a column at the far right of the mansion.

When I was small our neighbors had a copper roof and all copper reminds me of it. Their house was diagonal to the house that burned down when we had a snow day in the third grade and the ash made the snow melt and all the dogs grey. 

The sky is grey, and the white seems grey against (light refraction). If a small white dog walked past, it would be invisible to the marble, the sky.


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